PR's Most Important Social Media Trends by Search Engine JournalPR's Most Important Social Media Trends by Search Engine Journal

PR's Most Important Social Media Trends by Search Engine Journal

One thing is certain in public relations, social media is the media.

📈 A few valuable trends every agency and public relations specialist should know.

🖥 Video crushes it 
🖥 Privacy is very important
🖥 Twitter threads are an emerging trend for engagement and exposure.
🖥 Multi-Networking Is Out

Lisa Buyer is in great company as co-author of Search Engine Journal's latest social media ebook alongside other internet marketing experts Ashley Ward and Kristi Kellog along with editor and podcast host Danny Goodwin.

The mantra surround yourself with inspiring people holds true as we took a deep dive into SEJ’s How to Dominate Social Media ebook and handpicked our highlights from each chapter with a few Social PR Secrets and Sparkle.


So if you’re looking for 2020's best Social PR practices in Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Messenger and even Reddit - consider this your “how to” cheat sheet and thank us later.

Biggest Social Media Sites

Kristi Kellogg digs into “name five social media sites in under five seconds with your eyes closed, go!" The response to this over time has changed, with leading and fleeting platforms. Today, the top seven social media sites just by sheer size alone are:

  1. Facebook (2.38B users)
  2. Instagram (1B)
  3. Snapchat (330MM)
  4. Reddit (330MM)
  5. Twitter (321MM users)
  6. LinkedIn (260MM)
  7. Pinterest (250MM)

Social PR Secret: Focus your efforts where your audience is and only maintain profiles gaining exposure and traction.

Optimize Your Facebook Page

Victoria Edwards reminds brands to do a Facebook Page audit. If you’re like most brands, you set up your Facebook Page years ago. You claimed your page, set up the account, linked to your company website and continue to optimize your profile image and cover photo. However, what most brands forget to do is regularly optimize its account for keywords and profile updates. Facebook often edits the page layout and structure, offering businesses more ways to connect like Messenger or tabs.

Social PR Secret: Set a quarterly goal to audit your Facebook page for new updates and optimizations.

Engagement Equals Exposure

As Facebook competition for eyeballs becomes fiercely competitive and its algorithm is a moving target, stay ahead of the curve in triggering engagement with these Social PR tips:

  1. Post native videos vs linking toYouTube - Video is king in the Facebook algorithm, don’t sell your brand short by driving traffic to another channel.
  2. Create video playlists and optimize video descriptions - Using playlists creates the “Netflix effect.” Are you still watching? We hope so.
  3. Go Live - Live videos are placed at the top of the feed. Drop the need for perfection and stream.
  4. Use Facebook Insights - Know what formats work best for your audience and why.
  5. Post exclusive content - Hello flash sales. Everyone loves a good deal. Keep it exclusive to Facebook and you’ll keep users coming back.
  6. Interact and engage meaningfully - Real-time feedback is time-consuming but oh so worth it. Small businesses should pay special attention to this. An hour can make a big difference in gaining and losing a customer.
  7. Use UGC - Create a community where sharing is caring and incentivize content.
  8. Post cinemagraphs - Motion in graphics promotes algorithm exposure.

Social PR Secret: Get Facebook exclusive. Give your audience a reason to visit your Facebook channel without having to pay for the reach.

Rock-Star Twitter Profile by Lisa Buyer

Regardless of Twitter's flight path, bottomline is the media is on Twitter. Twitter has passionate and dedicated users, both consumers and the media. Just think of all the times you’ve considered tweeting a bad experience.

1. Brands need to be listening and empathetic or they’ll lose a customer.

2. Brands need to realize Twitter is the new media relations.

Social PR Secret: Journalists use Twitter, end of story? No actually this could be the beginning of your next story. As PR professionals, our personal and brand accounts need to be active and ready for follows, shares, lists and engagement.

Tweet the Best Content 

Stuck on where to begin with Twitter PR content? We’ve got you covered. Try on this list for publicity size:

Cross-promotion, sales, tips, FAQs, blogs, polls, reviews, relevant articles/news, jobs, employee of the month, press coverage, holidays/events, behind the scenes, RTs, trending topics, humor/heart, contests, influencer outreach and #Twitterchats.

There’s no one size fits all for every brand but this list is a dang good place to start the brainstorm.

Social PR Secret: Use automation and artificial intelligence tools such as CoShedule's ReQeue to repurpose relevant Twitter messages automatically, quickly and timely to get more media attention.

Facebook Messenger and Chatbots for Success

Chatbots have a 70-80 percent open rate within the first hour. No other platform performs so well. This is the new and improved email blast my friends! We love MobileMonkey’s integration and for starters, will share SEJ’s chatbot content strategy:

  1. Automated Q&A.
  2. Breaking news updates.
  3. Unique, highly relevant content.
  4. Webinar reminders

To see 11 other ways brands can implement chatbots, download the full SEJ article now.

Social PR Secret: Chatbots are simple to use and don’t require developer resources. Start by outlining and answering the media's top FAQs then upload them to the chatbot. It’s easy to use Facebook’s integration for this to get started and once there’s an understanding of the user interaction, advance the strategy to include more topics like media requests, scheduling or customer service.

LinkedIn PR Power

LinkedIn is the best public relations networking tool around. Take full advantage of the platform by:

  1. Connecting with people - especially journalists.
  2. Building an all-star profile so you can get found for interviews.
  3. Interacting with the media, share and tag news.

Social PR Secret: Don’t forget to use LinkedIn as a publishing platform. Fact: 45 percent of LinkedIn article readers are in upper-level positions. Journalists use LinkedIn to stay on top of trends and topics.

Boost Your Personal Brand on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a digital living and evolving resume. Sell yourself. Be professional and participate. There’s no better way to get out there than to introduce yourself. LinkedIn is especially useful for introverts. Let yourself shine through thoughtful text vs seemingly strenuous in-person networking.

Social PR Secret: Keep it light, keep it bright and most importantly, be yourself on LinkedIn.

Advertise on LinkedIn for PR

LinkedIn is no Facebook when it comes to targeting. However, they do offer a good selection of ad objectives including: brand awareness, website visits, engagement, video views, lead generation, website conversions and job applicants.

LinkedIn offers four ad types including: sponsored content, text ads, InMail, and video ads.

Targeting offers outreach by age, demographic, job title, seniority and interests. An ad campaign is work a test if you haven’t tried.

Social PR Secret: If your audience is on LinkedIn (who isn't?), start organically, find your content rhythm and use ads to gain reach and media exposure.

Boost Growth on Pinterest

There’s a right place and time for Pinterest. A brand's public relations objectives must align clearly to the way users engage on the platform. While Pinterest can be used as a brand awareness platform, it also offers a PR pin-worthy promise, buyable pins lead to conversion. If the brand alignment and consumer interest is there, go for it.

Social PR Secret: Always optimize for mobile. The majority of pinners are using their iPhones or Androids as they browse.

PR Guide to Reddit: Stats, Demographics, and Basic Differences

Search Engine Journal turned to Brent Csutoras for the Reddit reality check. If you’re not a fan of rules, don’t even think about a brand presence on Reddit. Every subreddit has its own set of rules and it’s easy to turn a simple awareness message into a social media fail on the platform. It’s easy to get banned from an honest mistake or a not-so-honest mistake if you’re trying to get upvotes by scamming the system.

Social PR Secret: There’s no fooling Reddit. The reason they are the 4th biggest social platform with longevity is because they’ve created a special place for real dialogue (and some trolling). Personalities have the best chance of success on Reddit, over brands when it comes to getting exposure. Always use a pseudonym when approaching an account on Reddit, even if the intent is to reveal yourself at some point.

Instagram for PR and Business

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking your business doesn’t have anything visually interesting to post – with a little creativity and strategic planning, you’ll find there’s plenty you can post on Instagram.

Social PR Secret: Align your Instagram to the brand’s PR and content strategy. Find the sweet spots where imagery and visuals do the public relations storytelling and media coverage.

Proven Ways to Get Followers on Instagram

Data is power. Use the Instagram analytics feature to know when your users are engaging and schedule your PR content around that time. If you’re really looking to grow your follower base including the media, understand it’s a full time job.

Use new hashtags (5-7) every day to reach new users. Run contests and ask users to tag their friends. Engage non stop, following and commenting on new users posts each day. Lastly, if organic engagement isn’t working for you, ads will.

Social PR Secret: Having a beautiful feed is both aesthetically pleasing and it also helps grow followers. Instagrammers don’t follow brands that are overly salesy and don’t consider the feed aesthetic. It’s important to blend business and experiential objectives when developing Instagram content for public relations.

Emerging Social Media Channels and Trends

Have you created a TikTok account yet? It’s a place for storytelling with no primping required happening in short videos of 15 seconds or less. TikTok’s platform is an opportunity to secure authority on an algorithm that reminds us of Facebook circa 2012. The time to begin is now. Develop your TikTok public relations strategy and dive in before the platform is saturated with other brands.

Social PR Secret: There will always be the “next big thing.” The question is, will it stick around? Many of the new social media platforms we like including Steemit, Facecast, Vero, Aloe Bud, Shine Text and Jiyo are great and fun to play with but betting your dollar and resources on the right platform before it goes big is the million dollar question.

Snapchat for Business and PR

If you think you missed the opportunity to join the Snapchat craze, it’s not too late. Just like any channel, a thoughtful strategy and regular care can lift off into success. SnapAds and publishing your Snapcode are good publicity ideas to get your brand in front of the right audience including millennials and Gen Z journalists and influencers.

Social PR Secret: Get creative. Let the younger version of you out to play and brainstorm ideas that are playful and attract attention. If your user base is of the Snapchat demographic (13-24 years old), this is an opportunity not to miss. Use Snapchat filters to create unique content and news videos you can download to your camera roll and use as content on other channels.

The Top 15 Tools for Managing Social Media Accounts

Social media is time consuming. End of story. Managing accounts takes time, a lot of time. Ashley Ward notes these tools will help keep you organized and efficient:

  1. BuzzSumo: idea generator.
  2. MeetEdgar: content calendar and topic organizer.
  3. Post Planner: find trending topics.
  4. Foursixty: Instagram + e-commerce, nuff said.
  5. SEMRush: keyword research and SEO.
  6. Sprout Social: scheduling, analytics, monitoring.
  7. Hootsuite: scheduling, monitoring.
  8. SOCi: scheduling.
  9. Social Bakers: analytics, all channels.
  10. TweetReach: Twitter analytics.
  11. Tailwind: Pinterest and Instagram analytics.
  12. link shortener.
  13. Buffer: scheduling.
  14. TweetDeck: Twitter management.
  15. Crowdfire: traffic and engagement driver.

Social PR Secret: Spoiler Alert: There’s no one-size-fits-all app for social media. Sorry for the bummer. It’s best to treat tools like a project, test them all out and find your best fit.

Now you have our public relations takeaways on how to leverage social media's dominating trends to get publicity from  Search Engine Journal's industry experts. Don't stop now. Get the in-depth 296-page FREE ebook here:

Or read Lisa Buyer's monthly column on Search Engine Journal.

Lisa Buyer
written by
Lisa Buyer
Looking for the latest Social PR trends or digital life hacks? Meet Lisa Buyer, a subject matter expert in public relations/social media and a recovering digital life junkie. She is the author of Digital Detox Secrets and Social PR Secrets with the foreword by Guy Kawasaki. Lisa brings 20+ years of PR experience always staying ahead of the curve as an early adapter integrating PR, SEO, and social media. Clients include Fortune 500 companies, start-ups, and niche brands. Industries include technology, marketing, real estate, health, wellness, and yoga.